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Confirmation Hearing

Series/Special. Chuck Hagel answers questions on his nomination for Defense Secretary. New.

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Israel 41, Hagel 40, Us 27, Vietnam 25, U.s. 23, Chuck Hagel 21, United States 19, America 19, Iran 19, Inhofe 17, Afghanistan 14, Mccain 13, Iraq 13, Chuck 11, Panetta 10, Pentagon 8, Syria 7, Nunn 7, Hezbollah 5, Levin 5,
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  CSPAN    Confirmation Hearing    Series/Special. Chuck Hagel answers questions  
   on his nomination for Defense Secretary. New.  

    February 3, 2013
    3:00 - 6:00pm EST  

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you can understand the application of tech policy. >> it's difficult to make investment decisions and expect any return when you have no way to predict the future. the difficulty right now is there's no consistency in our policy decisions. in thegovernment's roleçxyxyx industry >> defense secretary chat -- defense secretary nominee, chuck hagel responded to questions concerning past statements on israel, iran, and nuclear weapons. this portion of the hearing is three hours. cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> good morning, everybody. the committee meets today to consider the nomination of former senator chuck hagel to be secretary of defense. before i begin, i want to first welcome senator inhofe as the new ranking republican on our committee, succeeding senator mccain. senator mccain has been a great partner over the past six years, and i thank him for all the work he has done to get bills enacted, his leadership on a host of issues, his support
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for the work of this committee, and for always keeping our hearings likely. -- lively. senator inhofe has shown his strong commitment to the national defense over his 20 years on this committee. and i know that we are going to work well together and continue the bipartisan tradition of the committee. we are also pleased to welcome the eight senators who are joining the committee this year, both of those who are new to the senate and those who are new to our committee. senators donnelly, hirono, kaine, and king on the democratic side, and senators blunt, cruz, fischer, and lee on the republican side. you will all find that this is a wonderful committee where we work across party lines to support our troops and their families, and their national defense mission.
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i would also like to pause for a moment to offer my thanks and the thanks of our committee to secretary panetta, who delayed his retirement and his return to california to serve our country, first as director of central intelligence, and then as secretary of defense. secretary panetta has provided a steady hand at the department of defense through two very difficult years, and has earned our great respect and our appreciation. finally, the committee will be holding hearings next week on benghazi, and the weeks thereafter on the impact of a sequester on the department of defense. senator hagel, we welcome you to the armed services committee as an old friend, those of us with whom he served during your
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years in the senate. there are few jobs were demanding that the position to which you have been nominated. the hours are long and extremely challenging, and require sacrifices from both the secretary and his family. we traditionally give our nominees an opportunity to introduce their families at these hearings, and we would welcome your doing so during your opening statement. if confirmed, senator hagel would be the first former enlisted man and the first veteran of the vietnam war to serve as secretary of defense. you cannot read and senator hagel's account of his military service and not be impressed by it. as senator hagel explained a few years ago, but " probably most fundamental for me, when we talk about going to war, we need to think it through carefully, not just for the political and diplomatic and economic consequences, and those are important, but at least for me, this old infantry sergeant
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thinks about when i was in vietnam in 1968. someone needs to represent that perspective in our government as well. the people in washington make the policy, but it is the little guys to come back in the body bags." backgroundel's provides an invaluable perspective, not only with respect to the difficult decisions and recommendations that the secretary of defense must make regarding the use of force and the commitment of u.s. troops overseas, but also with respect to the day to day decisions that the secretary must make to ensure that our men and women in uniform and their families received the support and assistance they need and deserve. it would be a positive message for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in harm's way around the world to know that one of their own holds the highest office in the department of defense, and that he has their backs.
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senator hagel, you would be in position to make key decisions on afghanistan. the secretary of defense is called upon to advise the president on the size and mission of a post-2014 so- called residual force, and the pace of the drawdown between now and the end of 2014. the key to this transition is ensuring the readiness and ability of afghan security forces to take over the defense of their own country. i always believed that would be our main mission and its key to success. during my trip to afghanistan with senator jack reed last month, we heard from u.s. commanders on the ground that afghan security forces are operating on their own on most operations, including conducting more than 85% of operations, with limited or no u.s. support
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in the difficult regional command east take difficult obstacles remain with the process of reducing our forces and shifting responsibility to afghan forces, including the difficulty of negotiating the status of forces agreement, including recent reports that the afghan government might slow down a successful program of growing and training the afghan local police, and including questions about the current plan to reduce the size of the afghan national security forces from 352,000 to around 132,000 after -- 230,000 after 2015. we face a number of new and growing threats elsewhere in the world, such as the ongoing threat posed by iran's nuclear weapons program and the increase in early destructive
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civil war -- increasingly destructive civil war in syria, and the risks of conflict could result in the loss of control of the countries substantial stockpile of weapons. there is continuing instability in other countries affected by the arab spring. the growth of al qaeda affiliates in unguarded regions including yemen, somalia, and north africa, and continued unpredictable behavior of the nuclear-armed regime in north korea. we face these challenges at a time when the dod budget is under unique pressure as a result of cuts previously agreed upon by congress, the budgeting by continuing resolution, and the impending threats of a sequester. secretary panetta has said that a sequester would be devastating for our military. senator hagel's views on the sequester will be of great
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interest to this committee and the nation. those of us who have served with senator hagel in the senate know that he is a man who was not afraid to speak his mind. senator hagel has made a number of statements over the course of his career which committee members will ask him about during today's hearing. for example, senator hagel has stated that unilateral sanctions against iran, "are exactly the wrong approach," and that "the worst thing we could do is try to isolate iran." i believe that while effective multilateral sanctions are preferable, unilateral sanctions are an important part of the approach that the obama administration has followed and congress has supported, and it appears that sanctions are producing tremendous pressure on iran. another statement which has raised concern is senator hagel's recommendation that we conduct, "direct, unconditional,
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and comprehensive talks with the government of iran." now, while there is value in communicating with our adversaries, the formulation used by senator hagel seemed to imply a willingness to talk to iran on some issues that i believe most of us would view as non-negotiable, and any willingness to talk to iran would need to be highly conditional. senator hagel's reassurance to me and my office that he supports the obama administration's strong stance against iran is significant. we look forward to hearing senator hagel today in some depth on that subject. we will also be interested in hearing senator hagel's statement on the public statements is made on israel and the united states, that our policy of non-engagement with the syrians as, "isolated us
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more than the syrians," and a 2009 statement that "we should not isolate hamas," a terrorist organization. there is much to be explored at this hearing. but as we struggle with the difficult security challenges facing our nation, the president needs to have a secretary of defense in whom he has trust, who will give him unvarnished advice, a person of integrity, and one who has a personal understanding of the consequences of decisions relative to the use of military force. senator hagel certainly has those critically important qualifications to lead the department of defense. senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, i would like to
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echo your remarks about secretary panetta and the work he has done. i don't see him here today, but i do recall that when he was first nominated, i was probably one of the first phone calls to him, and i have enjoyed working with him and a mccain, the same way, i continue to depend on his counsel. you and i have worked very well together in the past. mr. chairman, before i continue the opening statement, i would like to raise a concern about the sufficiency of the materials provided to this committee by our nominee. senator hagel was requested to provide the speeches he has delivered over the past five years. yet his initials the mission was -- initial submission was for only four speeches, even though, as was noticed by senator cruz, he had 12 speeches but submitted four speeches. well, we received some more, but only late last night i think
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it would have been a lot more helpful if we had received them before that. i hope we will be able to get that information before we have to cast votes on this nominee. the president's nomination for senator hagel for secretary of defense comes at a critical juncture. secretary hagel is a good man. i am a great admirer of the time he spent in vietnam, and the sacrifices he made. while this service is commendable, his nomination should be decided by the totality of his record. it is the votes he has cast and the statements he has made that will inform us as to his judgment, his view of america's role in the world, and his view of the military requirement to support that role. as i told senator hagel in my office some time ago, over two
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weeks ago, after a long and careful review of his record, the things he has said, and the things i have personally experienced with him, we are too philosophically opposed on the pressing issues facing our country, and therefore i told him i would not be supporting his nomination. his record demonstrates what i view as a lack of his steadfast opposition to policies that diminish u.s. power and influence throughout the world, as well as a recent trend of policy reversals based on political expediency rather than on core beliefs. with many of the security challenges facing u.s. interest around the world, senator hagel's record is deeply troubling and out of the mainstream read too often, it seems he's willing to subscribe to it worldwide view that is predicated on appeasing our adversaries while shunning our friends.
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no man survives when freedom fails. i will mention a few of these things because they will come in this hearing. in 2000, an overwhelming majority of the senators sent a letter to president clinton for reaffirming our solidarity with israel. i carried that their around. -- letter around. i remember it well. senator hagel is one of just four who refused to sign that letter. i am sure he will want to comment on that. in 2001, he was one of just two senators voting against the bill for extending harsh sanctions against iran. a year later, he urged president bush to support iran's membership in the world trade organization. senator hagel voted against a resolution designating iran's revolutionary guard corps, a
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group responsible for killing soldiers in iraq and afghanistan, as a terrorist organization. on multiple occasions, he has advocated for direct negotiations with iran, a regime that continues to oppress its people and doggedly pursue a nuclear weapon capability and employ terrorist proxies including hamas and hezbollah. senator hagel has been an outspoken supporter of nuclear disarmament and global zero movement. we are very sensitive to that. the president has said many times that he wants a nuclear- free world, and i know that senator hagel is right there with him, but and a time when north korea's belligerent actions threaten our allies with nuclear capabilities, and the security of our own nation and that of our allies, why would we want to unilaterally disarm ourselves of nuclear capability?
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of late, however, senator hagel has expressed views in meetings with senate colleagues and i have been informed that they are glaringly at odds with long- held positions, particularly regarding israel, iran, and our nuclear arsenal. this willingness to walk back his positions, possibly for the sake of political expediency on input and issues, is deeply troubling, and sends a concerning message to our allies and adversaries alike. though i respect senator hagel, his record demonstrates that he would be a staunch advocate for the continuation of the misguided policies of the president's first term, retreating from america's unique global leadership role. it will embolden our enemies and
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endanger our allies and provide an opportunity for nations that do not share our interests to fill the global leadership vacuum we leave behind. it is for these reasons that i believe he is the wrong person to lead the pentagon at this perilous and consequential time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator inhofe. we have two former chairmen of this committee with us to introduce senator hagel. no senator has had two dearer friends or better mentor is that -- mentors than i have had with senators nunn and warner. i want to welcome them back to this committee. i don't have to tell them that they are among dear, dear friends. it is a real treat to welcome you back to the committee. i will call on you, senator
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nunn, first. i will call you alphabetically. i have no better way to do it. sam? [laughter] sam, welcome back. >> first, for the record, seniority and age are two different things. senator levin, ranking member inhofe, i am honored to join my friend john warner in presenting chuck hagel to the committee and recommending that chuck be confirmed as our secretary of defense. i think it is worth noting that 68 years ago this month, john warner and listed in the u.s. -- enlisted in the u.s. navy to fight in world war ii. that was the start of his great career in public service, and john, i am proud to be here by your side. mr. chairman, i spent a lot of time sitting in your seat, and
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congratulations on not having to do that today -- >> i don't know how long it will last, but thanks for pointing it out. >> you and senator mccain have effectively guided this committee in its important role as an compelling voice for defense. you have managed to pass authorization bills even during contentious times. thank you both for your dedicated service to our nation. i am confident that you and senator inhofe will continue this tradition, and that senator mccain will still be a very, very valuable member and a voice on this committee. i believe our nation is fortunate to have a nominee for secretary of defense with the character and the experience and courage and leadership that chuck hagel would bring to this position.
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first, chuck is acutely aware that even in an age of rapid technological advances, our military capability and effectiveness depend on the quality and the morale of the people who serve our nation in uniform, as well as the families who support them. chuck received two purple hearts in vietnam, and he continued to fight for veterans and active duty military personnel. he knows that our people are the strongest assets. second, chuck's experience in vietnam shape his life in perspective. war for chuck hagel is not an abstraction. i am confident that if confirmed, he will ask the hard and smart questions before sending troops into battle. chuck hagel knows that the united states has vital interests that are worth fighting for and dying for. he also knows that war should
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be a last resort, and that our nation must effectively use all of our tools, not limited only to our military, to protect our important and to protect our vital interests. certainly, mr. chairman, there is a tension in these values, but it is a tension we should welcome in the thought process and in the advice that our secretary of defense gives to our commander in chief and this congress. from our service to gather on -- together on the defense policy board in recent years, i know that chuck hagel has a clear worldview, and that is aligned with the mainstream of u.s. foreign and defense policy and also with president obama. chuck hagel believes we must preserve the american strength as a force for good in the world. he recognizing that protecting our interests requires strong allies and friends, as well as strong american leadership. third, chuck has the depth of experience and leadership
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skills required to handle this tough job. there is no shortage of security challenges around the world, as this committee knows and as you enumerated this morning, mr. chairman. a very large and impressive group of former cabinet officials and public servants from both sides of the aisle have said that they trust chuck hagel with this important responsibility. and i strongly, i strongly agree. fourth, on the fiscal side, i am confident that chuck will be a powerful advocate for a common- sense approach in this administration and on capitol hill regarding fiscal challenges to the defense budget. he understands that our defense capabilities are being threatened on two budget friends. first, sequestration, with its damaging, across the board, up from the budget cuts, and second, the rapidly rising costs within the department's budget, including but not limited to health care, personnel, and
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retirement costs. mr. chairman, members of the committee, i believe that chuck will work effectively with this committee and congress on meeting these budget challenges while protecting our people, our capabilities, and while ensuring that the united states has the strongest military in the world. chuck hagel was a soldier and a senator, but he has been also a highly successful executive in both the public and private sectors. he built a successful company from the ground up. he is a man who knows how to prioritize and make tough decisions. he will listen to and carefully consider the views of our military and civilian leaders and guided them as necessary. fifth, i believe that chuck hagel will be a balanced and responsible voice on a nuclear weapons policy. president reagan said it often
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and said it well -- "nuclear war cannot be won and it must not be fought." as this committee knows, the risks of a global nuclear war have thankfully, substantially declined since the breakup of the soviet union. but with nine nations possessing nuclear weapons, with a nuclear weapons usable material and knowledge spread across the globe, and if terrorists manage to buy, steal, or make one, we face enormous risks that a nuclear weapon would be used if proliferation continues in places like iran and north korea, and if we do not secure them globally, the odds of use go up even more. six years ago, george shultz, bill perry, henry kissinger and i made the argument that we should reduce reliance on nuclear weapons as a vital contribution to preventing proliferation, keeping them out of dangerous hands, and ultimately ending them as a threat to the world. 2/3 of living former
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secretaries of state, defense, and national security advisers have agreed with the vision and the steps that we outlined, including substantial work on verification and enforcement. mr. chairman, i hope that all members of the committee and the senate will read the recent statements by four credible and very experienced americans -- master tom pickering, ambassador richard burt, general james cartwright, and general john sheehan, about their work with chuck hagel on nuclear weapons. they made it abundantly clear that the bank opposed unilateral moves -- they oppose unilateral moves and support verifiable u.s. arms reductions, to be followed by multilateral negotiations bringing other nuclear weapons countries into a series and verifiable process of reductions.
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in closing, mr. chairman, there are many essential characteristics and values that the secretary of defense should possess in a dangerous and challenging world. let me name just two or three that i think are very important. first, someone who is well informed, has an open mind, in cages in critical thinking, who is capable of and seeks out independent thought. second, someone who sets aside fixed ideologies and biases to honestly evaluate all options and provide his or her candid judgment to the president and the congress. third, someone who pays attention to people with the best ideas, regardless of their party affiliation. no one is perfect, we all know that. but chuck hagel comes as close as anyone i know to having all of these qualities. mr. chairman, senator inhofe, members of the committee, i
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served for 24 years on this committee and i know that much has changed since i retired 16 years ago. i continue to believe, however, that every major problem we face today requires the best input from both political parties if we are to arrive at a solution. i believe that chuck hagel will seek that input. i urge his support by this committee and i urge the confirmation of this nomination by the u.s. senate. i thank the chairman. >> thank you very much, senator nunn. senator warner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is a very moving experience for me to reenter this room. i served on this committee for 30 years. in that period of time, senator nunn was the chairman and i was renting. -- ranking. but i want to say to you and jim inhofe -- jim and i have been good friends and we worked together not only on this committee, but other committees, and you will be a fine ranking member.
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you follow in the steps of my dear, valued friend of so many years, john mccain. and the leadership of this committee throughout my 30 years of the senate has been drawn from the ranks of the strongest and the best of this membership. we have it today, and i have every reason to believe we will have it tomorrow. i have a very fortunate record of public service for many years. no chapter was more important than my service on this committee. you will carry with you the rest of your life the recollections of the work you have done for one of america's most valued assets, the men and
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women and their families of the armed services of the united states. i had written out a nice, long statement, and then last night, i got sam nunn's statement and chuck hagel's statement, and i felt that another statement would not do. i would rather say a few words from the heart. i was in the navy. i did no more than any other kid on my block. we all went. good friends, we thank chuck hagel and mrs. hagel and his family. because if confirmed, is an
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enormous commitment by the family to this position. you have made the decision to offer yourself once again to public service. public service is a privilege. i have always regarded it as such. this statement will soon be shared by you. i read it through not once or twice, but again this morning. i have never read more carefully prepared statement, a more forthright statement, and one that has no hedges or
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deviations. he hits firm on those issues that will make the decision in your mind and that of your colleagues as to whether or not he is qualified to take on this very important assignment. i first entered the pentagon in 1969 during the war in vietnam under melvin laird. jim schlesinger followed and i worked with every secretary of defense since that period of time. all different, all with their strengths and indeed some of their weaknesses, but set forth in this is a series of commitments to you as a committee, to the members of the full senate and to the american public as precisely what his goals are and what he
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will do. how he will serve the president, how he will give the president his best advice, and i know chuck to give it very strongly. so i am going to talk a little bit about crack hagel, the man i served with for 12 years. my distinguished colleague and longtime friend, sam, had gone when chuck arrived at the senate. first year he was here, we had daniel defense authorization -- the annual defense authorization bill on the floor, and in those days, as it is today, that bill goes on that floor, that bill stays on that floor. sometimes a couple days, sometimes a couple of weeks. we get it through. when it's done we go back to
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our committee's faces and we begin to write that bill and get it to the printer so that we can go to conference. how many times have we done that together, senator nunn, senator levin, senator mccain, senator inhofe? many times. well, the first year he was here he watched that process, and when i had taken the staff back to the committee room, surprisingly, he showed up and i didn't know him that well, although i studied his biography and i wanted to get to know him because of my deep and abiding interest in the vietnam period having served for five years in that period as secretary, under secretary of the navy. he strolled in the room and i introduced him to the people and he said to the staff, you are one of the most impressive group of young people i've ever seen. i learned a lot.
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and he shared some of his stories as a simple but elegant soldier that he was. that's how he started, and thereafter he voted for every single final passage of the authorization bill, every single final passage of the appropriation bill. he was honed and learned in that generation of vietnam, and i'm so proud to have the affiliation of having been, yes, in comparative safety, the pentagon, but i did go to the field of battle and see these young men and some women who engaged in that struggle, but chuck hagel brings with him the experience of having come home, come home to an america that was quite different, and what i
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than what i experienced when my generation came home from world war ii, we were welcomed with open arms. america at that time in vietnam, and how well john mccain can remember this, was very divided, and when you wore your uniform back home, it didn't see the same respect it deserved for the sacrifices that you and your colleagues had committed. chuck will never forget that. i will never forget it. john will never forget it. today we welcome home and we do it with the fullest heart the young men and women that there have been times in history, and that was one, and so that honed him to be prepared to take on his responsibilities as he addresses the declining budget situation which is going to be
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a challenge. and i am absolutely certain that he will stand up and fight as hard as two of your predecessors, leon panetta, you mentioned today, and robert gates. they gave their president loyalty but they gave him their best advice and tough and fought for their troops and drilled down that they've got to maintain whatever budget and sequester is not the route. but whatever budget, maintain morale and combat readiness. and also, ladies and gentlemen, that pillar of strength of our military system, the all- volunteer force. we had drafts in vietnam. we saw the effect of that. and we decided as a nation to
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take a gamble, to let every person who wished to wear the uniform give them that opportunity and to volunteer. no one is forced in there. that has got to be maintained. this man has the experience and graphs to and the strength to protect the all-volunteer force. i also was deeply impressed by the senate and the manner in which it confirmed john kerry. john kerry served in that time and he went through trials and tribulations and came home and faced the public the way that chuck did. the senate confirmed him with a very, very strong vote, and they sent him away ready to take on the enormity of his responsibility. now, i mention that because in
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my experience, i've seen a good deal of camaraderie and the competition between the secretaries of defense and the secretaries of state. it just sort of built in there and a lot of times sand gets in that gearbox, but it's important to the united states that they, having the major jurisdiction of most of the policy issues, work as a team. john kerry and chuck hagel are a band of brothers out of vietnam with that special bond, and i'm sure that you will utilize that and remember and make those two departments perform their function, best service the president and best service the country. so i pretty well said everything i should say. i want to be brief because it's important that this committee pursue its work, but, again, bob gates, leon panetta, set the
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bar for this century of those who take on this job and you mentioned your long friendship and how you know both. i'd keep close contact. they've had the experience to deal with this president of the united states, and you're the president's choice. folks, there's an old saying in the combat army infantry and marine corps. certain men are asked to take the point, which means to get out and lead, in the face of the enemy. chuck hagel did that as a sergeant in vietnam. if confirmed, chuck hagel will do it again. this time not before a platoon but before every man and woman and their families in the armed
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services, you will lead them, and they will know in their hearts, we have one of our own. you're on your own. good luck. \[laughter] >> well, we thank you both, senator warner, senator nunn, for your powerful introductions. i just wish every member of the senate, every american could have heard, and i hope will hear and read about what you said here today about chuck hagel. and i also notice there's another former senator who is a member of that band of brothers who is with us today. i just noticed in the audience max cleland is here and i want to welcome you, max, an old friend of the committee and of
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the senate and of the nation. so let me now call on senator hagel, and senator warner, senator nunn, again, thank you for your introductions and you are free to get back to your lives or to stay as you wish. >> thank you. >> senator hagel. >> thank you, chairman levin, ranking member inhofe and distinguished members of the committee. i am honored to come before you today as the president's nominee to be secretary of defense. first, as you suggested, mr. chairman, let me introduce my family. my wife, lilibet, our son, ziller, and our daughter, allyn, are not with us today. our son, ziller, claims he's taking a test. we'll confirm that later.
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but both are a son and daughter that lilibet and i are very, very proud of. and i think like any proud father and any proud mother, you all know how i feel about that as you have the same feelings about your children, it's the same way lilibet and i feel about ours. i also want to introduce my brother, tom, who served with me in vietnam. my brother mike, who is our number three brother. and i might add who actually possesses any talent our family has, he has in the pentagon 10 paintings as chairman of the air force artist over the years, and they're hanging in different locations in the pentagon. so we have one brother of some acclaim. and one of us did make it. my brother mike.
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mike's son is sitting behind him, josh. he's one of three children that mike has. we have here also cousins, many friends, people i owe money to. \[laughter] and who knows who else. i have received some publicity over the weeks. i want to also thank my friends, sam nunn and john warner. i want to thank them for their support, their encouragement and their friendship over many years. and as each of you who had the privilege of serving with those two senators, i, too, add my thanks for their tremendous
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service to our country. these two distinguished americans represent what the best about american public service and responsible bipartisanship. they have embodied both in their careers, long distinguished careers, and are models for each of us. and of course to my family and friends and my fellow veterans who are here, as has been noted, max cleland, jan scruggs, veterans from all wars. i am grateful to them. not just for fellow friends and veterans who are here but those not here, thank you. a life is only as good as the family and friends you have and the people you surround yourself with. i also want to thank my friend, leon panetta, for his tremendous service to our country over so many years. if i'm given the privilege of
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succeeding him, it will be a high honor. president obama, for his confidence and trust in me, i thank him. i'm humbled by the opportunity and the possibility he's given me to serve our country once again. and i fully recognize the immense responsibilities of the secretary of defense. i assured the president that if i am confirmed by the united states senate i will always do my best, i will always do my best for our nation and for the men and women and their families who are called on to make the enormous sacrifices of military service. their safety, success and welfare will always be at the forefront of the decisions i make. i also assured the president that i would always provide him with my most honest and informed advice. i make that same commitment to this committee and to the congress.
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if confirmed i will reach out to the members of this committee for advice and collaboration. it will be a partnership, because the national security challenges america faces require it. our nation's security is the highest priority of our leaders and our government. we cannot allow the work of confronting the great threats we face today to be held hostage to partisanship on either side of the aisle or by differences between the bodies represented in articles 1 and 2 of our constitution. the stakes are too high. men and women of all political philosophies and parties and ideas die and fight for our country. as this committee knows so well, protecting our national security our committing a nation to war can never become political litmus tests. i know secretary panetta has put a strong emphasis on reaching out to the congress. i, like leon, come from the congress and respect and understand this institution's indispensible role and setting policy and helping govern our country.
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we are all products. forces that shape us. for me there has been nothing more important in my life or more defining influence on my life than my family. whether it was helping my mother raise four boys after my father, a world war ii veteran, died suddenly at age 39 on christmas day, or serving side by side my brother, tom, in vietnam or the wonderful miracle of my wife, lilibet and me being blessed with two beautiful children. that is who i am. we each bring to our responsibilities frames of reference. these frames of reference are formed by our life's experiences. they help instruct our judgments. we build out from those personal foundations by continually informing ourselves, listening and learning. like each of you, i have a record, a record that i'm proud of. i'm proud of my record, not because of any accomplishments
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i may have achieved or certainly because of an absence of mistakes but rather because i tried to build that record based on living my life and fulfilling my responsibilities as honestly as i knew how and with hard work. underpinning everything i've done in my life was a belief we should always be striving to make our nation a more better and secure place for all our people. during the 12 years i had the privilege of serving the people of nebraska in the united states senate, i cast over 3,000 votes and hundreds of committee votes. i've also given hundreds of interviews and speeches and written a book. thes you all know, i'm on record. i'm on the record on many issues. but no one individual vote, no one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me. my believes or my record, my
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overall world view has never changed. america has and must maintain the strongest military in the world, that we must lead in the international community to confront threats and challenges together and take advantage of opportunities together and that we must use all our tools of american power to protect our citizens and our interests. i believe and i always have believed that america must engage in the world, not retreat from the world but engage from the world. my record is consistent on these points. it's clear that we are living at a defining time. our nation is emerging from over a decade of war. we have brought our men and women in uniform home from iraq and have started to bring them home from afghanistan. that does not mean that the threats we face and will continue to face are any less dangerous or complicated. in fact, it is quite the
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opposite. recent events in mali and algeria remind us clearly of this reality. 21st century complexities, technologies, economies, threats are bringing the seven billion global citizens closer together than ever before. and as our planet adds another two billion people over the next 25 years, the dangers, complications and human demands will not be lessened but rather heightened. despite these challenges, i believe we also have historic opportunities to help build a safer, more prosperous, more secure, more hopeful and just world that maybe at any time -- than maybe at any time in the history of people. yes, the intolerance continues around the world and we must continue to be clear eyed about this danger and we will be. we will not hesitate to use the full force of the united states
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military in defense of our security, but we must also be smart and more importantly wise, wise in how we employ all of our nation's great power. america's continued leadership and strength at home and abroad will be critically important for our country and the world. while we will not his -- hesitate to act unilaterally when necessary. it is essential that we closely with our allies and partners to enhance america's interests and security as well as global security. if confirmed i will continue to build on the efforts of this administration and a former secretaries gates, secretary panetta and secretary clinton to strengthen our alliances and partnerships around the world. i will also look forward to working with my former senate colleague, your colleague and our friend, john kerry, in this pursuit. as i told the president, i am
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committed to his positions on all issues of national security, specifically decisions that the department of defense is in the process of implementing now. this includes the defense strategic guidance the president outlined in january, 2012. allow me to very briefly address a few of those specific issues now. first, we have a plan to place -- a plan in place to transition out of afghanistan, continue bringing our troops home and end the war which has been the longest war, as we all know, in america's history. as you also know, discussions are ongoing about what the u.s. presence in afghanistan will look like after 2014. the president has made clear and i agree that there should be only two functions for u.s. troops that remain in afghanistan after 2014. counterterrorism, particularly to target al qaeda and its affiliates, and training and advising afghan forces. it's time we forge a new partnership with afghanistan,
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with its government and most importantly with its people. second, as secretary of defense i will ensure we will stay vigilant and keep up the pressure on terrorist organizations as they try to expand their affiliates around the world in places like yemen, somalia and north africa. at the pentagon, that means continuing to invest in and build the tools to assist in that fight, such as special operations forces and new intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies. and it will mean working hand in hand with our partners here at home, across the national security intelligence communities to confront these and other threats, especially the emerging threat, the very dangerous and real threat of cyberwarfare. as i made clear, i am fully committed to the president's goal of preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
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and as i have been on record on that issue and as i've said in the past many times, all options must be on the table to achieve that goal. my policy has always been the same as the president's, one of prevention, not of containment. and the president has made clear that is the policy of our government. as secretary of defense, i will make sure that the department is prepared for any contingency. that's my job. that's my responsibility. i will ensure our friend and ally israel maintains its qualitative military edge in the region and will continue to support systems like iron dome, which is today saving israeli lives from terrorists' rocket attacks. that support i have always made clear and been on the record for. fourth, while we pursue the reductions in our deployed stockpiles and launchers consistent with the new start
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treaty, i am committed to maintaining a modern, strong, safe ready and effective nuclear arsenal. america's nuclear deterrent over the last 35 years has played a central role in ensuring global security and the avoidance of a world war iii. i have been committed to that. my record is clear on that. i am committed to modernizing our nuclear arsenal. as we emerge from this decade of war, we must also broaden our nation's focus overseas as we look at future threats and challenges. as this committee knows, that's why d.o.d. is rebalancing its resources toward the asia pacific region. we are in the process of modernizing our defense posture across the entire region to defend and deepen our partnerships with traditional allies, especially japan, south korea and australia. to continue to defer and defend against provocations from states like north korea as well as nonstate actors.
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and to expand our networks of security cooperation throughout the region to combat terrorism, counterproliferation, provide disaster relief, fight piracy and ensure maritime security. i will continue this rebalancing even as we continue to work closely, closely with our longtime allies of nato and our friends and with allies and partners and friends in other regions of the world. at the same time we'll continue to focus on challenges in the middle east and north africa where we have clear national interests. rather as a recognition that the united states has been and always will be a pacific power. in the asia pacific area is increasingly vital to america's security and economic interests. that's why we must become even more engaged in the region over the incoming years. during all of this and much more will require smart and strategic budget decisions. i have made it clear i'm sure
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leon panetta and the concerns of the impact just ration will have on our armed forces. as someone who has run businesses, i know that the uncertainty and turbulence of the current budget climate makes it much more difficult to manage the pentagon's resources and our national security. if confirmed i'm committed to effectively and efficiently using every single taxpayers' dollars the right way, to maintain the strongest military in the world and to working with congress to ensure that the department has the resources it needs and that the disposition of those resources is accountable. even as we deal with difficult budget decisions, i will never break america's commitment to our troops, our veterans and our military families. we will continue to invest in the well-being of our all- volunteer force and working with the v.a. and other institutions we will make sure our troops and their families get the health care, job opportunities and education they
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have earned and deserve. just as i did when i co- authored the post-9/11 g.i. bill with senators jim webb, frank lautenberg and john warner. this includes focusing on the mental health of our fighting force, because no one who volunteers to fight and die for this country should ever feel like that they have nowhere to turn. that's unacceptable for this country. in my 12 years in the senate, my one guiding principle on every security decision i made and every vote i cast was always this, simply this -- is our policy worthy of our troops and their families and the sacrifices that we ask them to make? that same question will guide me if i am confirmed as secretary of defense. our men and women in uniform and
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their families must never doubt that their leaders' first priority is them. i believe my record of leadership on veterans' issues over the years going back to my service in the veterans administration under president reagan demonstrates my rock- solid commitment to our veterans and their families. we must always take care of our people. that's why i will work to ensure that everyone who volunteers to fight for this country has the same rights and same opportunities as i discussed with many of you in our meetings. i'm fully committed to implementing the repeal of don't-ask, don't-tell and doing everything possible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all, all our service members and their families. i will work with the service chiefs as we officially open combat positions to women, a decision i strongly support.
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and i will continue the important work that leon panetta has done to combat sexual assault, sexual assault in the military, maintain the health and well-being of those who serve as critical to maintaining a strong and capable military because in institutions people must always come first. as we look ahead to the coming years, we have an extraordinary opportunity, opportunity now, at this moment to define what's next for america's military in our country. it is incumbent upon all of us to make decisions that will ensure our nation is prepared to confront any threat we may face in the future, protect our citizens and remain, remain the greatest force for good in the world. if confirmed as secretary of defense, it will be a great honor working with the president, this committee, the congress and our military to ensure our policies are worthy of the service and sacrifice of america's men and women. thank you, mr. chairman. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much, senator
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hagel, and here's what the plan is now for the hearing. we'll have a first round of eight minutes each. we have a vote that is scheduled for 12:15. we're going to work through that vote so -- and we're also going to work through lunch, which means we would ask are you to vote sometime during that 12:15 vote and come back, for those who haven't had your turn yet. there are five votes at 2:15. i hope that we can complete our first round by 2:00 or 2:15 so we could then have a late lunch at 12:15 during those five votes. we would then come back perhaps an hour later. we would ask those who have not had a turn, if that's the case, or during our second round that to begin our second round that you on the final vote, vote early and then come back so we
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can start as quickly as possible around the 3:15 or 3:30, i would assume, to either complete the first round, if it hasn't been completed, or to begin our second round. the -- because of the time crunch, we have standard questions which we ask of all nominees. i am going to ask those at a later time during this hearing, but we will ask them, and again i think we hope to finish today. we'll leave the record open for questions, but our goal would be to finish today no matter how long it takes today. then to have the record open for questions. so let us now begin our first round of eight minutes. senator hagel, you made reference to the looming sequester. we received a letter signed by the joint chiefs of staff
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relative to sequester which says that we're on the brink of creating a hallowed force based on budget conditions and legislation. they have talked about the readiness crisis which would result, grounding aircraft, returning ships to port, stop driving combat vehicles and training and so forth. can you -- and you've spoken very briefly about your agreeing in general with the impact. would you expand on the impact of that sequester from your perspective? >> well, mr. chairman, i think the chiefs have laid it out rather directly, plainly, as secretary panetta has as recently as two, three days ago, ash carter in an interview, went into some detail. the fact is, the bottom line is
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if sequester would occur, it isn't just a reduction in a significant amount of dollars that would occur, but it would be a convergence of taking the flexibility, the projection, the management, the future away from those who are responsible for managing our budget. furloughs. furloughing civilian employees would have to occur. you listed inventory of consequences of cutting back on flying time, of training. these are real consequences that would occur. i know the pentagon, the chiefs, those who have responsibility or managing every department of this three million
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operation security institution are preparing for the worst. but make no mistake, this is not an exaggeration. when managers are not given the flexibility and the opportunity and the tools to manage with complete uncertainty as to what's ahead, that's disaster. >> thank you. on the question of iran and the use of force, the president has said that iran's leaders should understand that president obama does not have a policy of containment. he has a policy to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, that he's made clear that he will not hesitate, in his words, to use force when necessary to defend the united states and its interests.
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do you agree with president obama's position that, quote, all options should be on the table, closed quote, to let iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon? >> i do, i have and i strongly agree with it. >> on iranian sanctions. president obama has said that the sanctions which have been put in place are crippling the economy of iran. i have to agree. their currency has dropped 80%. oil production has plunged. the economy is in the shambles. do you agree with the president's views on sanctions against iran and if so how do you reconcile your position with some of your past statements that suggest that the national security of the united states is not served by isolating iran?
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>> well, first, i do agree and always have agreed with multilateral sanctions because i think they have an effect sand i think this president, in particular, has probably done more than any president to effectively employ those kind of international sanctions, starting with a security council u.n. agreement and u.n. mandates. so i agree with what the president's doing. and i've said publicly, incidentally, long before the president ever asked me to consider this job, that additional sanctions might be required. as to my record on votes in the senate regarding unilateral sanctions, i have differed on some of those. i have voted for some as well. it was always on a case-by-case basis. when i voted against some of those unilateral sanctions against iran, it was a
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different time. for example, i believe one was in 2001, 2002. we were at a different place with iran during that time. as a matter of fact, i recall the bush administration did not want a renewal of the five-year renewal of ilsa during that time because they weren't sure of the effectiveness of sanctions. that wasn't the only reason i voted against it. it was because i thought there might be other ways to employ our vast ability to harness power and allies. it was never a question of did i disagree with the objective. the objective was i think very
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clear to both of us. i recall, for example, in 2008, secretary of state rice, sending a letter to the chairman of the finance committee, senator -- senator baucus, requiring a sanctions resolution unilateral in the finance committee not come out of the finance committee because the bush administration at the time was working with the russians specifically but with the security council of the united nations to try to get international sanctions which i think that effort, by the way in 2008, led to the 2010 international sanctions. >> can you give us your view on the size of the u.s. force, which might be necessary or would be necessary after 2014, the so-called residual force, if you have an opinion on the size? you indicated in your opening statement two missions for that residual force. can you also give us your opinion about the size of the afghan national security force after 2014 and whether you agree with me and senator graham on this committee and others that we ought to reconsider the position that the afghan national security force should be reduced by a third starting in 2014 to about 230,000 from what its current goal is which is about 350,000?
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>> as you all know, general allen has presented his options to the president for the president's consideration. as far as i know as of this morning, the president had not made a decision on what a residual force numbers-wise would look like. i have not been included in those discussions, so i don't know other than knowing that he's got a range of options as you do. but i would say that from what the president has told me, from what secretary panetta has told me, that that decision will be made to assure resourcing the
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mission and the capability of that mission. as to what kind of a force structure should eventually be in place by the afghans, i don't know enough about the specifics to give you a good answer other than to say i think that has to be a decision that is made certainly with the president of afghanistan, what we can do to continue to support and train and protect our interests within the scope of our ability to do that. obviously the immunity for our troops is an issue, which was an issue with iraq. all those considerations will be important and will be made. if i'm confirmed and in position to give the president advice on that, i will with consultation of our commanders on the ground and our chiefs, give him the best options we can provide. >> will you review that question of the size of the afghan force
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with an open mind if confirmed? >> i will because i think we have to. >> thank you. senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senator hagel, my first question's not to be responded regarding the position but i want to state the position or restate the position on five things i mentioned during my opening statement merely to ask you if those are accurate reflections of things that happened in the past. first one is in 2007, you voted against the designating iran islamic revolutionary guard corps as a terrorist organization. the second thing, in 2006 you were one of 12 senators who refused to position the e.u. to identify hezbollah as a terrorist group. third, in november of twee, you
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failed to -- 2003, you failed to vote on a syrian accountability act with sanctions -- occupation of lebanon. four, in 2001, you were one of only two senators that year to vote against renewal of the iran-libya sanctions act. and lastly, in 2001, you were one of four senators who refused to sign the letter supporting israel. are those accurate? >> well, let's start with the -- >> no. i just want to know if the statement -- these are votes that took place. do you agree those votes took place? >> i want to ask the letter that you just noted in your fifth point, what was the date in the letter? >> the date. >> you said i refused to sign letter. >> october of 2001. >> a letter to -- >> ok. skip that one. is the other ones true? >> well, it was fairly important -- >> it's very important. i was holding the letter at the time that we were gathering signatures. >> i see. on the 2008 question regarding designating the revolutionary guard as a terrorist
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organization, i did vote against it. >> i'm sorry. i don't want to be rude. you and i are very good friends. i know my time's going to expire. others are going to ask why you did this. i was asking for the accuracy. if you don't want to answer that's fine. >> i did vote against it and i was going to explain why i voted against it. >> i know. they will be asking you for your explanation. i want to get to three other things and that's why it's critical that we kind of keep moving along here. one of the criticisms i had of this administration is the lack of priority and funding for the military. while they've increased the deficit by $5.3 trillion in four years, the only major part of the budget has been decreased is the military. that's something pretty well- known. a lot of people don't like that idea.
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the thing that bothers me just as much is putting the agenda, another agenda under the military budget. for example, you have heard senator mccain and me and others talk about the fact that the navy paid for 450,000 gallons of fuel, some $26 a gallon. you can get it on the market for $3. the air force, same thing. except it's $59 a gallon. and so the question i would have of you is just a commitment that if you are confirmed, will you confine the dollars that we are going to spend in the defense budget for defense purposes, for war-fighting purposes? >> well, of course i will because that's the intent of our budget and department of defense. >> i appreciate that very much. there was an article the other day in "the washington post" by
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jennifer ruben called, "our dim witted state department." it's kind of an interesting article. there are four questions that i'm willing to ask that you respond for the record. for people that don't know what it is, that means later on in writing. the questions i'd like that she asked. did the sell of the f-16's have morrissey crack down on his peep? would we still have sent the weaponry? how will we respond to the anti-democratic moves and the rise and violence against christians in egypt? or as will likely be the case, a failure to live up to egypt's security obligations regarding gaza? and four, have we miscalculated
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the muslim brotherhood? that would be for the record. in the area of the global zero policy, you and i talked about that in my office. others have talked about it. we're very much concerned. when i heard senator warner and others talk about what used to be the case, the problem in terms of nuclear capabilities, we used to be talking about russia and the united states. it's not true any more. our intelligence has told us since 2007 that iran will have that nuclear capability and a delivery system by 2015. so it's other countries that are involved in that. the question i would ask you, in your book you wrote that we must once again convince the world that america has a clear intention of fulfilling the nuclear disarmament committee -- commitments that we have made. the question, a bit more recently you said, i believe providing necessary resources for a nuclear modernization of the triad should be a national priority. do you stand by your last statement? >> my last -- >> your last statement saying -- i believe that providing the necessary resources for nuclear
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modernization of the triad should be a national priority? >> absolutely should be. i agree with that. and that's what the policy of this administration is. >> well, i'm merely bringing out the inconsistency because when you were involved with supporting the global zero or whatever that group, the organization was, their declaration is, quote, we the undersigned believe that protect our children, our grandchildren, our civilization from the threat of nuclear catastrophe, we must eliminate all nuclear weapons globally, we therefore commit to working for a legally binding verifiable agreement, including all nations to eliminate nuclear weapons by a date certain. >> the position of global zero, my position, some of the individuals, national security leaders that senator nunn talked about, including himself, has not been unilateral disarmament ever, never. we have over the years, which i have supported, the united states has led in reducing the efforts to reducing nuclear warheads.
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there was no more significant voice for that than ronald reagan when he laid before secretary general gorbachev in 1986 a rather bold plan. in fact, i believe, paraphrasing president reagan, we must eliminate nuclear warheads from the face of the earth, i believe he said something to that effect. global zero has been very clear on this. their effort has been in line with every major national leader in the world, including president obama, to continue to try to make an effort to reduce our nuclear warheads, but in a dangerous world, nuclear arsenals and our containment policy which i mentioned in my statement has been critically important. we're not going to unilaterally disarm. verifiable. it has to be bilateral.
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it has to be negotiated. as all our treaties have been. >> thank you, senator hagel. the reasonable i mentioned the mission statement, that's a group you belong to. we can talk about that later. you may want to expand on that for the record. my time has expired, but i have one last question i'd like to ask and that is, given that iran, the people -- i'm quoting right now from iran -- people of the middle east, the muslim region and the north africa, people of these regions hate america from the bottom of their heart. it further says israel is a cancerous tumor in the heart of the muslim world. and they're willing to wipe israel off the map. and if you'd like to answer for the record, why do you think the iranian foreign ministry strongly supports your
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nomination to be the secretary of defense? >> i have a difficult enough time with american policies, senator. i have no idea. but thank you. and i'll be glad to respond further for the record. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator inhofe. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. first, i'd ask unanimous consent that several letters of support, including one from 13 former secretaries of defense, secretaries of state, strongly endorse senator hagel's nomination be placed in the record. >> it will be placed in the record. >> i think the president chose wisely. there are very few people in the country with very few experience, as a combat infantryman, decorated and wounded, as a business leader, as the second leader of the veterans administration, as the united states senator, as someone who every day
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understands that the decisions we make will be carried out by young americans, has looked in the face of young americans, who have seen them suffer and die for this country. and i think that quality is if not unique extraordinarily part of the nominee before us. so again i think the president made a wise choice. senator inhofe's discussion about zero growth is an opportunity for a quote and let me quote. there is only one way safely and legitimately to reduce the course of national security and that is to reduce the need for it. and that is why we are trying to do a negotiation with the soviet union. we are not just discussing limits on the further increase of nuclear weapons. we seek instead to reduce the number. we seek the total elimination of one day of nuclear weapons on the face of the earth. president ronald reagan in his second inaugural address. the notion of global zero is not something unique. as signators to the nuclear disarmament treaty, national
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nonproliferation treaty, article 11 undertakes to commit at least to complete disarmament under strict and effective control. this is something the united states has embraced for have -- a very long time under presidents of both parties. as senator hagel pointed out, this is not unilateral disarmament. this is a long process of making sure we have the nuclear weapons in place to deal with appropriate challenges. some very different than the cold war. but the aspirations have been important. it's been a bipartisan and constant for decades. is that a rough summary of what you might agree to do, senator? >> yes, it is, senator. thank you. >> the other issue is there is several specific points raised with your record, and let me give you the opportunity to respond, if you will, to the questions that senator inhofe posed with respect to votes.
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if you have the list before you or -- >> what, sorry? >> senator inhofe posed several issues about 2007 vote, 2006 resolution with hezbollah, 2003 syrian sanctions, etc. you were prepared to comment. i think it's appropriate that you have an opportunity to comment if you want to do so now, i'd invite you to do so. >> i'd be glad to further comment for the record, because i have none of those specific votes in front of me, which i will, senator, listing every vote i took. i would say, though, included in those votes, which i do recall some of them, were a vote in 1998, a vote in 2000, a vote in 2006, specifically against iran, sanctioning companies, unilateral sanctions that in any way assisted iran's building their capability of nuclear weapons or rocket or missiles, i voted for those. i recall signing a letter, warner-levin letter in 2002 to
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the president of the united states regarding anti-semitism in russia. i wrote a letter to president clinton specifically in 1999 recommending to president clinton a number of stems that he'd take with president yeltsin regarding anti-semitism in russia. i remember specifically there were two unanimous consent resolutions in 2006 against hezbollah, against hamas, against syria and iran that we had unanimous consent, i supported on the floor of the senate. so there is a more complete record, senator, than just one or two or three or four, and those are some of them that i recall. as i noted in one of the
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responses back to senator inhofe, i didn't take any action on any vote, as i suspect every colleague here has the same way to approach votes, on this specific issue, on hezbollah, hamas, which i'm on the record many times designating and saying that hezbollah and hamas are terrorist organizations. i'm on the record many times in speeches and the floor of the senate and in the book i wrote in 2008 saying that iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. that is not new. that's in my record. but the way i approached every vote i ever took in the senate was based on what i thought could be most effective, what was at the time, what was the situation at the time, how could we do this smarter and better. i always believed the president of the united states is the elected leader of america.
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he has within his responsibilities, and i believe it's clearly articulated in article 2, to conduct foreign policy. i always thought the best way to deal with foreign leaders is let the president do that directly, for us to communicate with the president. i don't think there was a letter i recall signed to a president on these issues that i agreed with it that i didn't sign. so it was never a matter of differing objectives here. it was a matter of how best we could do it. i mentioned in 2008 the secretary of state didn't want one of those unilateral sanctions to go forward during the bush administration, wrote a letter. 2001, one of the issues that senator inhofe brought up. the bush administration was opposed to a five-year renewal of those. now, i'm not saying it's right
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or wrong. every one of the decisions i made, every vote i cast was based on at the time what i thought made the most sense. >> senator, you have clearly stated that you are supportive of the president's efforts to support the state of israel. and you have specifically you are fully prepared to carry out that same effort, that same level of support. the vital interest we share this with the state of israel. >> i am. i have a record on that. in my book in 2000 a, it interviews -- it has interviews and speeches. i am a strong supporter of
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israel. in some cases i have recession that we have a special relationship with israel. we always have had. i have never voted against israel ever in the 12 years i was in the senate. the record is very clear on that. i might add, and senator nelson may have a clearer view of it since he was just in jerusalem, there were a couple of recent statements made by the current israeli ambassador to the united states, the former israeli ambassador, and now the deputy minister, that were fairly positive about me. i think all the israeli leaders i have dealt with over the
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years and met with, and i have been to israel many times. the first time i was there i was head of the u.s. sell. o.kep but to keep the u.s.o. open. -- i fought to keep the u.s.o. open. i was the one that made that decision. i have been strongly supported. the current then it director of the u.s.o. said i was a strong supporter and friend of israel. i think my record is pretty clear on my support of israel. i will continue to support the president's policies.
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he has been a strong supporter of israel as maybe of any president since 1948 when harry truman helped give birth to israel. this president has been there. as he said "i have israel's back." almost 300 additional million dollars out of the defense department for the iron dome. i am a strong supporter of those programs. i will continue to support them. >> thank you. there is a quorum that is now present. i have asked the committee to consider a list of 952 pending military nominations. they have all been before the committee for the required time. all in favor say aye. the motion carries.
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thank you very much. >> thank you. i am pleased to see an old friend on the committee, especially pleased to see a senator warren, a member of the committee who has contributed so much to our nation's defense. the committee will raise questions concerning your policy decisions. these are fundamental disagreements. our concerns pertain to the quality of your professional judgment and your view on critical areas of national security including security in the middle east. let me begin with your opposition to the surge in iraq. in 2006 we lost the election, the republicans, and we began the surge to leave iraq
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honorably. in 2007 you said it is not in the natural interest to deepen the military involvement. january of 2007 in a bizarre exchange what secretary rice after some nonsense about syria and crossing the border into iran and syria because of the surge and a reference to cambodian in 1970, you said " when he set in motion the policy the president is talking about it is dangerous." "i have to say this speech given last night by the president represents the most dangerous foreign policy wandering this country since the vietnam. is carried out i will resist it." you continued on for months about what a disaster it would be, even to the point where it
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was clear the surge was succeeding. in march to thousand eight you said the term quagmires could apply. -- in march of 2008 you said the term "quagmire"could apply. even as late as august 2011 in an interview with the "financial he said he disagreed with president obama as you did with president bush on the surgeon in iraq. if you stand by those comments? -- surge in iraq. do you stand by these comments and that's what i stand by them. i made them. i would defer -- sam by these comments? >> i stand by them.
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i made them. i will explain why i made those comments. >> i expect a direct answer. >> the surge assisted. if we review the record. >> will you please answer the question? were you correct or incorrect when he said it would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder since vietnam? >> my reference -- >> ari going to answer the question -- are you going to answer the question? it is straightforward. then you are free to elaborate. >> i am not going to give you a yes or no answer. >> let the record show you refuse to answer that question. >> if you like me to explain why -- >> i would like an answer, yes
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or no. >> it is far more complicated than that. i will refer that judgment to history. as to the comments i made about the most dangerous for policy decision since vietnam, it was not just about the surge but the overall war of choice going into iran. that particular decision that was made on the surge, but more to the point our war in iraq, i think was the most fundamentally dangerous decision since vietnam. aside from the cost that occurred in this country, aside from what that did to take our focus off of afghanistan, which was the original and real focus
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of the national threat to this country, i always tried to frame all the different issues before i made a decision on anything. just as you have said, we can have differences of opinion. that is essentially why i took the position. >> it is a fundamental difference of opinion. senator lieberman and i, when 59 voterss, we made that decision. your refusal to answer whether you are right or wrong is going to have an impact on my judgment as to whether to vote for confirmation. i hope he will reconsider the fact that you refuse to answer a fundamental question about an issue that took the lives of thousands of young americans. >> there is more to it than just flooding --
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>> i am asking about the surge. >> i know you are. i am trying to explain my position. the beginning also factored in the suni awakening. >> i am very aware of the history of the surge. i am also aware that any casual observer will know the surge is the fundamental factor led by two great leaders, it to petrae including general petrae. know these surge would have been required? let me go back to syria. more than 60,000 people have been killed in syria. do you believe we should be more engaged in syria? >> we have been very engaged.
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>> you do not think we should do more? >> when you say "do more" do you mean --\ >> making sure the syrians need weapons they need. >> part of our review is reviewing those options. >> it has been 22 months. >> i was not there. i'm not there now. >> i am sure you have read that 60,000 people have been killed and it is in danger of spilling over into neighboring countries. how many war would have to die before you would support -- -- more would you have to die before you would support resistance and a no-fly zone? >> no one questions the terrible tragedy that is occurring there every day. it is a matter of how best to we work our way through this so we can stop it.
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then what comes next? >> did you disagree with president obama on this decision for the surge in afghanistan at? >> i did not think we should get ourselves in. i had no formal position. >> you reported saying "i disagreed with president obama and his decision to surge in afghanistan." >> that was my personal opinion, yes. >> thank you. >> senator nelson. >> since the issue of iraq's come up, iowa -- iraq has come up, i want to lay the predicate. this senator was one of many that voted for the operatio authorization to go into iraq. the lessons of history, we read
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given incorrect information as a justification for going in. we were told by the secretary of defense, secretary of state, national security adviser, and a director of the cia that there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq. for a lot of the decisions that were made at the outset, they were decisions that were informed with incorrect information. as the committee is judging hagel on that decision as others, i want to tell the committee that was the experience wasthis senator. -- with this senator.
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what i would like to do with my time, since there are a few of us in this room that served in the military during the vietnam era, and you clearly have that experience in combat, i would -- by the way, a lot of people do not know anything about vietnam and do not know how difficult it was of but how the nation was divided. i would like you, i would like to know something about your service and in vietnam and your combat experience. were you wounded? >> thank you.
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if i may, if i read into your question with some latitude in answering, i would responded this way. i think my time is better served to maybe talk about more of the specific things like senator mccain asking things and how it formed my judgment rather than going through a 12-month journal of my time in jungle. my brother tom and i were both wounded twice together. 1968 was the worst year we had. we sent over 16,000 dead americans home. that is unfathomable in the world we live in today.
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16,000 dead americans. i saw that from the bottom. i think chairman levin in an accurate quote about what formed me directly goes to center mccain's question. just -- senator mccain's question. i had one fundamental question that i asked myself on every vote i took an decision i made. was the policy worthy of the men and women that we were sending into battle and surely to their deaths? in many cases, these poor families are living the
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consequences. i know it is easier if you do not have a connection to some of this. it does not mean i am any better. it is not mean i am any smarter. it is not mean i am any more appreciative of the service of our country. that is not it. i saw it from the bottom. i saw what happens. i saw the consequences and the suffering. i did question a surge. it was not an aberration to me ever. i always ask the question "is this going to be worth the sacrifice?" there will be sacrificed. iraq we lostin 1200 americans and thousands wounded. was it required and necessary?
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senator mccain has his own opinion on that shared by others. i am not sure. i am not certain it was required. it is not mean i am right. it does not mean i did not make wrong votes, but that is what guides me. when the question me about my time in vietnam, i was a very insignificant part of this. we were just doing our job. as every military person knows that. some of this committee has rather distinguished members starting with senator mccain and the sacrifices he has made. it does condition you. i am not molded or consumed by that experience. of course not. it is part of me. i try to spend that in my opening statement. we are all shaped by those
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experiences. i hope that experience i have is for the better. i hope if i had the privilege of serving as secretary of defense it will put someone in charge of the pentagon not questioning the past secretaries, who understand the realities of consequences of war. it does not mean i am better. that is who i am. i do not walk away from that. it does not consume me. i do not see the lens of every world events and whether we should use american power through the lens of vietnam. it is part of me. i think that is for the better. i think we should be cautious with our power. we need to be wise. we have great, awesome power. no nation in the world is even in our league. we have done so much good. i do not think there is a nation
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in the history of man that has ever been as a judicious and careful with its power as we have a. i want to make sure we continue to do that. we will have differences on policies. all i can do is my best based on my own experiences. as i also said, also reaching out and never knowing enough, understanding that circumstances change. >> thank you. >> it is great to have you with us and to have this hearing and an opportunity to discuss important issues. i'd mar your service in combat experience is something we all admire and respect. i have been a member of the strategic subcommittee of this senate armed services committee from the time i have been in the
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senate and we came together. i have had some experience and knowledge about the great debate involving nuclear weapons and national security. i believe the secretary of defense should be the rock- solid person for defense of america. i believe he should project an image of solidity and steadfastness at the whole world so the american people can depend on it. i am more than a little troubled by the report you participated in that calls for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and clearly suggests it is an achievable goal in a realistic time. certainly not immediately. . writers defend you.
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the protest mildly and savy views are in the national security interest and squarely in the mainstream. they insist you're in the mainstream because your position is that the president obama. they assert you are out of the mainstream if you believe otherwise. your report explicitly calls for "an urgent and transformational change in the u.s. nuclear force structure, strategy, and posture." it is an exceedingly dramatic report. specifically, adding to the bedrock, your report
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calls for bilateral or unilateral elimination of the icvm triad leg. the report refers to itself as a diad report. you propose eliminating the 76 nuclear b-52 bombers entirely, leaving only 18 b-2 bombers, reducing nuclear submarines from 14to 10. to 10. you favor eliminated all taxing on nuclear weapons. according to the report, that would mean it would take from one-three days to place a weapon
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on the alert. i certainly agree that would be transformational change in our nuclear strategy and posture. i think it is a big historic thing. the present commander of the u.s. strategic command does not agree with the recommendation in this report. people you will supervise. general taylor told the press last year "i do not support the form of vice chairman. i do not think we're in the place he suggest now nor do i see that particular place anytime soon." you will be supervising him. would you share with us where
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you are today on that issue? do you support the view of general taylor or the commission report you signed? >> thank you. let me first correct some of your interpretation of what the global zero report was and is and what it actually said. it did not propose or call for anything. the word specifically used at the front end of the report was "illustrative." it proposed nothing but a dow different scenarios and possibilities and schedules. -- that laid out different scenarios of possibilities and schedules. this was summarized in a letter to president obama in 2009.
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bilateral, never unilateral. nothing was ever suggested on a unilateral basis to take down our arsenal. negotiating, and verifiable. these are all terms that were in the report. as was said in the opening statement, the mainstream thinking of most presidents we have had the last 65 years was reduction of nuclear weapons for obvious reasons. that is why we have engaged in treaties. those were bilateral arrangements. the u.s. and russians have about 90% of the nuclear weapons in the world today. there are others that have them.
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there are nine nuclear powers. the so-called loose nukes, terrorist groups getting ahold of these are threats. >> it is not clear in your report. your report says "these steps could be taken with russia in unison through reciprocal presidential directive or in implementing a unilateral." two more times in this report these ideas could be a less good approach to adopt this agenda at unilaterally. it suggested it should be adopted. it will not be as good. but you would do so. there is another reference to that. it does call for these reductions. in your conclusion the state united states should seek to
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such reductions and base the arsenal on a dyad of nuclear missiles. one half of the stock would be deployed on these carriers. the other half would be reserved. all of this would be eliminated. all of this would be eliminated from the stockpile. bombers would be completely dismantled. i do not believe this is
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insistence with the policy of the country as a whole. i support legislation several years ago to help us the other support did that. the house supported it to help us determine how much further we can continue to drop down a clear weapons. it had john glenn on its. . they have access to the defense department, a secret documents and information. they came out with quite a different view. they said maintain the triad. they said maintain its nuclear
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weapons. they recommended no change in the alert status. the defense department nuclear posture review explicitly found the alert status should not be altered in their review. they fundamentally i give you a chance to respond. before your report was issued they said "conditions that might make possible the glow elimination o nuclear weapons are not present today and their creation would require a fundamental transformation of
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the world political court." i think this is aimed at the idea that is practical and realist cal that the world will move to zero nuclear weapons. i want to ask you one question that you told me in our meeting that i appreciated. president obama stated when we did the treaty discussions and voting, quote, "i intend to modernize or replace the triad of strategic nuclear systems, a heavy bomber, and a cruise missile, and icbm and nuclear power ballistic submarines."
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he committed to the design of the crr and those is a building where the modernization would take place. let me ask you, would you support that vision and commitment to that the president made? >> i do feel that i'm uneasy about this have that is expressed in the your report. >> well, let me just briefly come back to what you said, senator, and i appreciate your giving me a chance to respond. first, my record has always been very clear. everything i voted on in my career in the senate. i have been a strong, agile, save, arsenal for the united states. that is not debatable.
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i believe that. you know the home of the strategic command is now in senator fisher's state, which used to be the state by represented. i used to be in that state as a senator. it has not changed. i know a little something about, not as much as you and others on the committee, but i have been to that facility many times. i know the general very well. and you know what the motto is. it is a pretty significant model. "peace is our business." there is that strong, nuclear deterrent. this prospective secretary of
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defense would never do anything or in any way take any action that would minimize or harm or downgrade that reality. again, i go back to, not to get caught up in this report, this report was about the illustrative possibilities, always bilateral, always bilateral, just as we have always done in our treaties. i will stop there. that is a commitment i made to you and the president. my record is clear. >> well, thank you, and i would just say that the vision stated in your report i believe is going to create instability rather than confidence and stability, create uncertainty among our allies and i do not
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believe it will meet the goals that you said not to weaken our abilities. so i am troubled. i appreciate your comments today, but i am troubled. >> thank you very much, senator sessions. but >> thank you, mr. chairman. in the six years i have served in this committee, i have served under senator warner as a ranking member and senator mccain as a ranking republican member, and i have to tell you that there has never been a time that i did not sense that we all agreed that our work on behalf of our nation in terms of protecting our country and defending our country, that it was a bipartisan effort. i believe very strongly that this committee needs to be bipartisan, and i hope that the new ranking member holds the same regard for that as senator
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mccain and senator warner did, because at all times, i felt that they were respectful and were willing to listen to our disagreements, and i am hopeful about will continue, and i am optimistic that it will. i will ask some questions. if you need more time, just say so. do you believe that all options should be on the table when we confront in iran? >> absolutely. >> do you believe that iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and provide support to hezbollah and hamas. >> yes, and i am on the record many times saying that. >> do you support sanctions against iran? >> yes. >> do you believe that the united states should unilaterally eliminate its nuclear arsenal? >> no. >> do you agree with four national security leaders, including henry kissinger, san
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nunn, william perry, and george shultz, president reagan's secretary of state, when they said, and i quote, "the four of us have come together in a non-partisan effort, deeply committed to building support for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and to ultimately to end them as a threat to the world. we remain committed to working towards this vision and advancing the steps essential to achieve this goal." do you agree with those four bipartisan, national leaders in the area of national security and foreign policy? >> yes. >> i wanted to take some time to talk about some of the things we talked about in my office. what the defense department. i know you stayed with some of the advanced policy questions
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that you want to hold people accountable and profitability. i do not think most americans understand that as we face shrinking budgets and as we want to secure the pre-eminence of our military and not a hollow out the spending in the defense department, that auditability is a crucial agreement to us being able to find out if all of the money being spent there is being spent like americans would want it to be spent. can you reassure me that auditability is a priority, that it would be an essential priority of your time as secretary of defense? >> as i told you, senator, i will make that commitment to this committee. >> and then turning to contract in. i have yet to have provided to
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me other than the numbers that we spent, any data that would indicate that major infrastructure rebuilding as part of a counterinsurgency strategy works. there are many things that work in a counterinsurgency strategy, and one of them as it was originally posed to me back some six years ago on this committee by general petraeus was the commander emergency response program, but walking around money to fix a plate glass windows in neighborhoods, that that was an essential part. that change into our military infrastructure projects. without really any data really to indicate that the billions of dollars that we were spending was, in fact, advancing our mission, our military mission. in addition to that, it is clear, if you want to look at
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iraq, and the failures that iraq represents in some ways, one of the failures is the crumbling investments that this country made in iraq. the health centers that never opened. the water parks that's it crumbling. the facilities that were blown up before they even had an opportunity to operate. i can go down billions of dollars of waste because we did not do the analysis on sustainability after we left. i am convinced that we have made the same mistakes in afghanistan, and i would like your response to this issue of major infrastructure building while we are in a conflict being conducted by our military, not by a.i.d. or by the state department, analyzing whether or not there is data to support that aspect of the strategy. >> well, i will make that
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commitment, and it is part of a larger series of questions and factors always involved when a nation gets clearly committed, as we were and still are in afghanistan and were in iraq for eight years. when you are at war, the highest, first priority is to take care of your people, and as a result of that, all of the rest of the normal latitude and guidance, fury, policy is secondary, and so i think in both of those wars, because we got ourselves in so deep with so many people, and the welfare of our men and women was paramount,
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we tried a lot of things. we had never been this way before. we had never seen anything quite like these two situations, and as a result, as you know, our special inspector generals have come up with billions and billions and billions of dollars that are unaccounted for. corruption. fraud. waste. abuse. it really is quite astounding, but when you think about the universe of money that went in, no one should be surprised. now, how do we fix it? what do we do? to your point, how do we learn? how do we learn from this? we need to learn from this. it was not the fault of the military. of the military was asked to do everything.
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we overloaded circuits of our military korea we said, "you do it. you have got the structure. you have got the organization. you have got the people. so now go do it. so we put these young captain's in very difficult spot. they were given $100,000 in cash, essentially walking around money to take care of things and so on. it was not their fault. they were told to do this, what was part of the strategy. so i do not question necessarily any particular strategy or part of it, but i do think it is part the whole you're talking about. i will take a look at this, and we will go deeper in this because we owe it to our people. we owe it to the people of this country who pay the bills, and for future, what did we learn for future challenges? >> thank you. >> thank you, senator.
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senator chambliss? >> thank you. again, congratulations on your nomination. as we talked the other day, you and i have been good friends since i came to the senate in 2002, sat next to each other for six years on the intel committee, and during that process, there were some things that i question, but we were always able to dialogue. there is our friendship, and i appreciate that. you were also introduced by two of my friends. i want to drill down, chuck, probably the number-one issue you will have to deal with assuming that you are confirmed, and that is the issue about our relationship with iran and where do we go in the future, short-term as well as long term. you wrote in your book, and i quote, "we blundered into iraq
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due to flawed judgments and ideologically driven motives. we must not repeat these errors with iran, and the best way to avoid that is to maintain an effective dialogue." you then go on to advocate again a direct and strategic, diplomatic relationship. i heard you in your opening comments say that your position on iran is prevention, not containment when it comes to their nuclear weaponization. i want you to expand on that. iran is the number-one terror sponsor in the world. i do not think there is any disagreement about that. i want you to expand on your position on a nuclear
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weaponization -- iran, and if your position is true about prevention and not containment, chuck, what is the point? we know there are some things happening right now that are very serious, so how far do we go? do you still advocate direct negotiations with iran, it as you said, any made clear that all options were on the table, and you would say it again that military options is one of those. if you will, talk about that. we have never negotiated with a terrorist state. why do you feel that we ought to dialogue with them, even on this issue today? and lastly, what alterations, if any, do you think are necessary to our military force posture in the gulf region to deter iranian regional ambitions and support international diplomatic efforts
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to support -- to prevent iran from developing nuclear weapons capability. it is a broad statement on my part, a broader question, but this is the issue from the national security standpoint, chalk, and i would like you to be very specific. >> right. let's start with a very specific question on a vote. what is designated as the revolutionary guard as a terrorist organization. you recall because you were there that there were 22 senators voting against it. the effort against it, the main point made came from senator jim webb, and his point was we have never ever designated it a part of a legitimate government state, and i say legitimate, it does not mean that we agreed
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iran, but it is a member of the united nations. almost all of our allies have embassies in iran, so that is what i note an elected, legitimate government, whether we agree or not. designated them or made them part of a terrorist organization. we have never done that, so you say, so what? what is the big problem? the problem was that least 22 of us believed, both republicans and democrats, by the way, in that vote. it was jim webb on the floor, he said if you do that, that is tantamount to giving the president of the united states the authority to use military force against iran without having to come back to get a
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resolution from or partner with or cooperate with the congress of the united states. essentially, if we vote for this, we are giving the president in a sense that authority. we can agree or disagree with that, but i listened to that debate, and there were some pretty thoughtful debates, and that debate i thought was pretty powerful with me. we were already in two wars at the time, and i thought that this made sense, and so i voted against it. that is why i voted against it. you might also remember that the, secretary of state john kerry voted against it, and then senator obama gave speeches against it. vice-president biden voted
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against it. dick lugar voted against it. there were some other republicans. as to the iranian red line, persian gulf, some of the iranian questions you asked, i support the president's strong position of containment, as i said, and i will speak more specifically to a couple of the examples used from my book. but his position i think is right, and when you ask the question about red line, red line, i think the president has gone as far as he can go publicly on that, and he said clearly that in his words, he has israel's back. he said his policy is not to allow the iranians to get a nuclear weapon.
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what constitutes when the action would be taken? i think that is always something that should not be discussed publicly or debated publicly or out in the public domain. your quotations from my book, which you acknowledge as well, and i always say military options should be on the table, and i had said that consistently, as well as engaging with iran. i have always thought it is far smarter to approach these very serious threats, including iran, who is probably as significant a threat as we have out there today, although north korea is beyond a threat. it is a real nuclear power and quite unpredictable. i think pakistan is another very complicated reality, but staying
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on iran, i think we are far smarter to do what the president is doing, and i lay out in my book -- i have two chapters on iraq and a chapter on the middle east. getting the world community behind us with the u.n.-sanctioned sanctions through the security council of the united nations. these are tough sanctions. they are having a tremendous impact. you know that. on iran. if, in fact, the military option is the only one required -- i think we are always on higher ground in every way. national law, domestic law, people in the world, people in the region to be with us on this if we have tried and have gone through every possibility to resolve this in a responsible, a peaceful way, rather than going to war. everything i said in my book was about that.
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i do not have a problem with engagement pre-empt i think great powers engaged. it is clearly in our interest. that is not negotiation. engagement is not surrender. i think if the time is right, the climate is right, the dynamics are right, we should find the ways, if we can find ways. we cannot force it, but i think we are smarter and wiser to take that approach initially. posture in the persian gulf. as you know, senator, our fifth fleet is located in the persian gulf, bahrain, and as you also know, we have a couple of carrier battle groups in that area. our military posture in there is a very strong. it is very ready. it is very capable. these are contingencies and options that the secretary of
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defense, working with his chiefs and the combatcommanders always have to give with the president to make sure we are prepared, so let me stop there, and i may have missed some of the specific things you want to discuss. >> i am understating you saying you are not ready to discuss red lines and a specific way. am i hearing that right? >> i do not think that is my role now, to start with, as i am not the secretary of defense, but i think the president is wise in his course of action in not discussing that publicly. i think it is a far smarter way of handling it, and i think he has said what he needs to say. i think it has been understood in iran. i think the world understands his position. by the way, i have just been
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handed a note that i misspoke and said i supported the president's position on containment. if i said that, i meant to say that obviously we do not have a position on containment. i recognize the idea that more attention paid to my words and the last eight weeks than i ever thought possible, so i do not take any chances. thank you. >> i think i understood you correctly on containment. >> just to make sure your correction is clear, we do have a position on containment, which is we do not favor containment. >> we do not favor containment, so that is the president's position in my position. >> clarify be clarified. >> if you need further, i am here. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, senator. >> good morning, senator hagel. thank you for once again heeding the call to lead the department
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of defense. we had a great private meeting last week. we covered many of the threats and challenges that our country faces, shrinking budgets, strategic national security shifts, and we continue to provide fair and equal opportunities for all of our service members and their families. when we met, you emphasized your determination to keep all options on the table with regard
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to iran, including a military strike if iran continues to pursue a program of defiance of its international obligations. you also discussed your longstanding support of israel and your longstanding relationship, but you have critics out there, i do not have to tell you that, who maintain that your record on iran is in question and that you are anti-israel. these are serious charges, so let me direct some questions your way. why should americans trust that you would consider every option when it comes to one of the most serious national security threats facing us today, which is iran? >> well, first, thank you for an opportunity to clarify these issues. my record has been very clear on iran. senator chambliss noted from my 2008 book, a chapter, specifically noting that i said the military option must remain on the table.
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i said that as recently as an op-ed that i've co-authored last june and the washington post with two former centcom commanders. one of the things we brought out is that the military option must remain on the table along with the other areas of effort and expertise and diplomacy and economics and sanctions that the president is using, which i have already said i support, so my record is pretty thorough on this, and i will continue to support that position, and i strongly support the president's position. >> senator, talk about your view on israel, our relationship with israel. how can we continue to have a special alliance with a country with whom we share more than an economic or political philosophy but with eight broader moral connection that we have with israel?
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>> well, i have said many times, just as i am said in regards to the military option with iran, many times in my book, speeches on the floor, he interviews i have given, i am a strong supporter of israel. i will continue to be. i am also said, and i believe this is in my book, that we have a special relationship with israel, so, again, my record is pretty clear. i voted for 12 years in the senate for every authorization, every appropriation that i had an opportunity to vote on for israel. i have been to israel many times and have met with their leaders many times. so, again, if you look at my record, i think my record is pretty clear in my strong support for israel. >> senator, i've heard you say when you discussed your vote
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against the resolution applying to the iranian revolutionary guards that in the end, you were protecting congress broadly when it comes to declaring war. is that correct? >> that is exactly it. that is exactly what i was saying, and i guess i did not say it that way, but that was the point, and again i say like an answering the other questions, it was not a question of the objective, and i shared the objectives, and i suspect all 22 members who voted against that resolution supported the objective, but as jim webb made the case, i think, pretty effectively, and senator webb was an individual who had a rather considerable experience -- he had been secretary of navy under ronald reagan. he had been assistant secretary of defense under ronald reagan. he was one of the most decorated veterans of vietnam, a united states senator, a celebrated author and lawyer.
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i thought he made a strong persuasive case, as did many of us. >> let's turn to cybersecurity. i was pleased you mentioned cybersecurity in your initial remarks. the pentagon's move to significantly expand its cybersecurity assets and knowledge, i have to talk about colorado, since i represent them. the air force academy is well-positioned to train those cyber security experts. we are also a command point. when you talk more about your take on cybersecurity, what we need to be doing, what types of resources we made. >> as you know, i have been to those facilities in colorado a few times and to know as much about it as you do, but i am pretty familiar with it. they are essential to our national security. cyber, i believe, represents as
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big a threat to the security of this country as any one specific threat. for all of the reasons that this committee understands. it is an insidious, quiet kind of a threat that we have never seen before. it can paralyze a nation. not just a power grid or a banking system, but it can knock out satellites. it can take down computers on all of our battleships. it can do tremendous damage to our national security apparatus. that is the larger threat, but when you start defining it down, this body, i know, i watched it. we went through a pre-agonizing three months at the end of 2012 trying to find a bill that they could agree on on cyber. i know, or i believe, that the congress will come back in this
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new congress. i think he must, and you know that, because we have got different intergovernmental authorizations here. the dod. where is the capacity? where are the budgets? where are the authorities? this is law enforcement. this is privacy, business, a lot of complications that we have never ever had to face before. the other national defense reps do this country. so cyber will be an area that we will continue to focus on. we must. it is an area i will put a high priority on if i am confirmed to be secretary of defense. >> senator, the 2013 -- there is a provision that compels the military to accommodate the conscious moral principles and religious beliefs of all members of the armed forces. this seems reasonable on the surface, but i am especially
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concerned this could lead to misguided claims as a right to discriminate against lesbians or gays or bisexuals or some with other beliefs. the president has said that they will not permit or condone discriminatory actions that compromise good order or discipline, or otherwise affect the military code of conduct. would you assure that the department of defense, in accommodating religious beliefs or matters of conscience, does not tolerate discrimination in regards to others? >> absolutely. i will faithfully, diligently enforce our laws. all men and women deserve the same rights, and i can assure you that will be a high priority. i will assure that in every way through the entire chain of command and accountability. >> thank you, senator
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i look forward to the second round of questions. it is now the afternoon, and it is a good afternoon. >> thank you, senator. senator? >> let me follow up on that. does that mean a chaplain would have to perform a same-sex marriage, if he objected based on conscience? >> i think the pentagon regulations show, senator, that same-sex marriage it is legal in nine states. >> no, with a chaplain be able to bounce out of that procedure based on conscience? >> certainly. what we do not want though, senator, the point is someone to be denied to be married. in a chapel for a facility and so on, but, certainly, as a matter of conscience. what i am talking about is a strict interpretation of defending the law, which defends rights. >> thank you very much for
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clarifying that, and thank you for calling me early on. we had our conversation on january 8, and i appreciated that opportunity. you just said that your statements over time have gotten a lot more attention than you ever dreamed possible, and i hope you agree that is entirely appropriate in this context. chairman levin mentioned that in speaking your mind, you had said several things that had caused him concern. senator inhofe mentioned what some people feel our policy reversals based on expediency, so those are concerns. you and i talked about two of these topics during our conversation, and one of them
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was with regard to sanctions against iran. you told me in our conversation that you opposed unilateral sanctions because they do not work, they isolate the united states. you had made that statement to the omaha paper just the day before. you have not supported unilateral sanctions because when it is bus alone, they do not work, and they just isolate the united states, in the omaha paper. i have to say that that statement seems to be in direct contradiction to your letter to senator boxer one week later. when you told her, and i quote, "i agree with iran's continued rejection of diplomatic overtures, further sanctions,
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both multilateral and unilateral may be necessary." now, one week before that, you said that you have opposed them because they do not work. another senator said that he disagrees with that. he says they do work. you gave him an answer to that statement, and we have it on the record, but let me just suggest to you, senator, if words have meaning, there is no two ways about it. the statement you gave in the, paper that you gave to me the following day is substantially and substantively different from what you wrote to senator boxer one week later. the office of secretary of defense is one of the most powerful positions in the country and arguably in the world, and this official, the
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weber who he or she is must leave with clarity and precision, and people around the world need to rely on the clear meaning of the words of the secretary of defense. the other thing we discussed that gave me concern during our conversation on january 8 was your statement about the jewish lobby. and you told me that you have apologized for using that, and you retracted the use of the term the jewish lobby. what you said is that the jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. this was in an interview you gave. you said, "i have always argued against some of the things because i do not think it is in the interest of israel." here is my problem at this point.
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you have corrected the term "jewish lobby." and i think the correct term now would be the israel lobby or the israeli lobby. do you stand by the idea that they succeed in this town because of intimidation? and that it amounts to causing us to do dumb things, because i want to say this, senator. you are here today as a potential secretary of defense, and it would seem to me that however you characterize them, you have suggested that there is any effective lobby out there, whether you call them the jewish lobby or the israel lobby or the israeli lobby, and that they succeed in doing dumb things through intimidation and that u.s. policy has been the wrong
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approach because the intimidation has worked, so when you talk about the jewish lobby, were you talking about a pack? were you talking about christians united? and do you still believe that their success in this town is because of intimidation and because they are, as you stated, urging upon our government that we do dumb things? >> well, first, i never been accused of political expediency. i do not do that. it has probably gotten me into some trouble, senator. second, addressing the last comment, and then going back to sanctions, i have already said i regret referencing the jewish lobby.
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i should have said the pro-israel lobby. i think that is the only time on the record that i never said that. now, you all have done a lot of work with my record, and yes, it is appropriate for any nominee on the record, what he or she thinks and has done, absolutely. i was on your side of the dais for 12 years, so i understand that and that responsibility, so i do not have any problem with that. so i have already noted that i should have used another term. i am sorry, and i regret it. the use of intimidation. i should have used "influence." i think that would have been more appropriate. we were talking about in that book, you have evidently read it, and, by the way, it is a
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book -- to the promised land, he has spoken out directly recently about my position because it has gotten some attention, as you have noted, and has been quite favorable to me and said much of that was taken out of context, and he was offended, and those were his words. those of you know something about him know that he is jewish. he is a highly respected individual who has counseled presidents and secretary of states. in that fairly short interview, he mentioned that i am a strong supporter of israel. that is in the interview. so i think that says something. i should not have said "dumb" or "stupid," because i appreciate there are differing views on
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these things. we were talking about the middle east. we were not talking about armenia or turkey or the banking influence or the chamber of commerce influence. that was the context of what my comments were about. on your point on the unilateral sanctions conversation and the quote, a couple of points. let's go back to the vote. about the regional vote during the clinton administration, and connect that to a comment i made in the world harrold above they do not work, they are ineffective. and, by the wycombe i have
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already noted for the record that i am supported and voted for unilateral sanctions. i think there are three specific ones i recall, but your specific question about this specific comment, just to give you an example of partly what i was talking about, you were not in the senate at the time, some were, but those that were herein the senate might recall the european union's reaction to that act. i was not in the senate when it was voted on originally, so i did not have a vote, but in 1998, the european union passed a resolution against the united states and threatened to take the united states to the world trade organization. as a consequence, secretary albright had to get into this, and as a consequence of that, president clinton had to sign a waiver to allow a french oil company not to be part of that
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u.s. unilateral waiver. now, i am not suggesting united states actions should be hostage to the european union or any other country, but what i am suggesting is many times there are consequences do these actions. now, every senator has their own position on these and exercises their own judgment, as they should, and cast their own vote, so i do not necessarily that there was a disconnect from what i said in the world harold to where i have been on international subjects. as your specific point about supporting unilateral sanctions as well as international sanctions, a letter with senator boxer, it is a different situation. we already have very effective international sanctions on iran.
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>> are you saying those two statements do not contradict each other? the one to the, paper and the one to senator boxer? >> there are two points, and that me finish, if i could, senator, thank you, for my second point. the second point is where we are today, international sanctions that have been placed on iran, that puts iran and united states in a far different place than where we were in 2000 or 1998 or 2001, when i did not support the reimposition -- and by the way, the bush administration did not either. they did not want a five-year reimposition. some of the things i questions that. but my point in making where we are today, connecting at to unilateral sanctions, then we have got a different situation.
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unilateral sanctions, because we have already got strong international sanctions, it should be considered. i think the president is right to consider those. i would support that. it is different than what it was back in 2000 or 1998. >> thank you, senator. senator? >> thank you. senator hagel, thank you for being here. thank you for your service to the country in the military and your service in the u.s. senate, and i also want to thank your wife and your family for standing with you today. you played an important role in supporting vietnam veterans impacted by the exposure to agent orange, but i a been involved in a similar set of issues facing veterans stationed at camp lejeune, and they continue to look into the effects of water contamination there. as many as 1 million marines and their families stationed at the
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base between the early 1950's and the 1980's may have been exposed to harmful chemicals that could have lead to cancer and other elements. looking into this has been long. it has been drawn out, and recognition that men, women, and children were dying or going broke paying out of pocket for their treatment while they're waiting for these various studies to be completed on the water contamination. we in congress took action last year. the house and senate passed a bill that would provide for the treatment of veterans and their family members through the v.a., but i continue to believe that the families of those stationed at camp lejeune during this time period, they deserve answers from the u.s. government about who was exposed to the harmful chemicals, about what type of impact that may have had on their health, and what the government knew about this exposure, and i up and fighting for answers with a group of other committed senators on a bipartisan basis, and along the
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way, progress has been slowed by endless bureaucratic delays and obstacles. my question to you is do you agree that these marines and their families deserve complete answers about the water contamination that occurred at camp lejeune, and if confirmed, do you pledge to work with us to overcome any bureaucratic hurdles that may halt or delay the pursuit of answers for the affected marines and their family members? >> well, thank you. you noted that we had a long conversation about this. i committed to you in your office, and i will make that commitment in front of this audience. there should never, ever be a question about the health and the safety and the environment that we put our men and women and their families and when we ask them to make sacrifices to serve this country, and i am committed to do that. we will have further conversations. >> thank you, senator. i know u.s. answered a number of
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questions about israel already today, but i do have one i want to ask you also. there is a special and historic bond between the u.s. and israel, and i am personally committed to israel's security and identity as a jewish state. when we met earlier this week, i was pleased to hear you agree and that you support a two-state solution and oppose any unilateral declaration of a palestinian state. we also discussed the need for a strong military and intelligence engagement between the u.s. and israel. just last fall, i was in israel, and i have spoken with senior military officials from both countries, and i have continually heard that the ties between our military and intelligence organizations have never been stronger. if confirmed, do you intend to maintain its close relationship, and do you any ideas as to how we can further strengthen this coordination?
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>> well, i would, once again, reaffirm the commitment that i made to you to this committee. i absolutely support the continuation and strengthening of our relationship with israel, as has been noted before in my book. in the chapter i have on israel, i talk about the special and historic relationship between the united states and israel. it is critically important that the qualitative military edge that we have assured israel since 1948 be maintained and be enhanced. the iron dome is i think but one example. the latest military exercise we had with the israelis last fall, the challenge, it was the
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largest military exercises between our two countries in the history of our two countries. i think our intelligence agencies are working closely and are stronger and more coordinated than ever before. i think this president has done as much to support israel as any president, as i mentioned earlier, since harry truman, and i will look forward to continuing to follow those policies and enhance those policies. >> thank you. i wanted to ask a question on sequestration. stopping sequestration from occurring is very important to me. north carolina, we have seven military installations, and we have over 100,000 active-duty service members in my state, and i believe that these cuts are going to harm our national security, will impair our readiness, will defer necessary maintenance that will help keep our troops sake, that delay
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important investments in research and procurement as well as stunt our economic recovery at this time. i do not believe we can allow these cuts to move forward. congress needs to work on a bipartisan basis on a bipartisan plan that will help eliminate this threat of sequestration. also, we have to reduce our deficit and protect the investments in the areas of national defense. when we spoke earlier, i was pleased to hear that you did not support these indiscriminate, on prioritized cuts that sequestration would cause. if allowed to take effect, how would sequestration impact the department's ability to meet the future threats and challenges could as i've shared with you, highchair the subcommittee of this committee on emerging threats and capabilities, so i am particularly interested on your thoughts. you were commenting earlier to a senators' questions on cybersecurity issues.
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obviously being considered in the emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee. my question is, what impact do you believe that these cuts would have on our service members and their families at home and abroad, and in particular, the cuts with the sequestration, how would this impact areas such as cybersecurity and the other areas? >> well, first, as we have said this morning, you know the chiefs have made very clear, secretary panetta, there will be consequences, significant consequences, to the management of our defense department and our ability to have the flexibility to make the decisions, not just for the immediate but for the future. when you hang in that kind of uncertainty over any institution, but especially the institution charged with national security in our
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country, it is very dangerous. readiness is obviously the number one priority, and we will continue to do that. the chiefs have already decided to work through this, and i think in some of the public statements they have made, we are preparing for that. they will be prepared in the event sequestration does take effect. we will be ready to deal with it. but this is going to be very difficult, and we talked a little earlier here this morning about how we were going to have to reduce training, flying time, but i think the american people do need to be reassured, as i said, as secretary panetta and the chiefs have, the security of this country will not be in jeopardy, but it will be difficult. and it will affect longer-term kinds of planning, but make no
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mistake, if this happens this is going to be a severe problem. >> my time is up. thank you for your comments. >> senator, thank you so much. we are going to work right 3 vote that is going on, but we will take a 10-minute recess right now and come right back, and then we are going to call on the two senators who are next in line, and i urge them to go vote and come back, so we will now recess for 10 minutes. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> the committee must vote on
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senator hagel's nomination and that could come as early this week. so far among republicans have announced they will support the haguele mom nakes -- nomination. >> john mccain's 2000 campaign, when he ran for president, is the most memorable campaign of any that i've covered or been around. it was just -- we'll never see it again. here he was facing george w. bush who had all the republicans backing him and all the money. john mccain went out and held 114 town meetings. he stayed there until every question was answered. you would see the light bulb go off and say when are we going to get the, patient's bill of
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rights? he would say we're not going to get that as long as my party is owned by the trial lawyers an the democrats are own bird the insurance company. he was totally open to the press. there was a candor and a welcomeness that no one had seen before and no one has seen since. >> long-time clull any fact on his career in -- column any fact --ist. >> she was the oldest first lady hen her husband was president. her husband died one month after his naurgs. meet the other women that served at first daily in c-span's original series, "first lady, their private and public